Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fried Onion Dip—Cooking from The New Midwestern Table Cookbook

Fried Onion Dip--The New Midwestern Table 10-27-13

If you know me well, don’t die of shock when you see this post for Fried Onion Dip.  If you don’t know, I have a deep loathing for onions.  Always have.  Probably always will.  So you might be wondering why in the world I would make and post an onion dip.  I have joined with a group of fellow cooking, baking and cookbook lovers in making our way through Amy Thielen’s new book, The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes.  If you don’t know Amy, she also has a new show on the Food Network, Heartland Table.  Check it out on Saturday mornings. 

The first recipe that was chosen for the group to make from Amy’s book was Fried Onion Dip.  There is no requirement for making any of the recipes, it’s all just for fun and whenever we can or would like to make one of the chosen recipes that will be two times a month.  But I felt bad and was so torn to not participate on the first one.  So I talked myself in to frying some onions to make this dip.  I have never enjoyed any of the aspects of onions, the taste, the smell, cutting them, the lingering smell, what they do to your breath, all of it.  My mom has always teased me that someday when I grow up I’ll like them.  Well, I’m cough, cough—almost 44—and still no-likey.  I have tried.  I consider it an aversion much like one of my best friends HATING nuts (unfathomable to me), or one of my sons not liking chocolate (despicable!).

That said, I do put onions in salsa, but I only like the very non-chunky, super pulverized kind.  And I HAVE grown up somewhat from my youth, where I used to pick every little piece of onion out of everything I ate, you couldn’t hide them small enough—I’d find them and be able to taste them.  I don’t do that anymore, so give me some credit for that, Mom. ;)  While living in Kansas over three years ago, I had the pleasure of taking some wonderful cooking classes from Paige at For Love of the Table.  (She should have her own cooking show!)  There I chose to eat the things she cooked and I learned that I can handle shallots and that I’m not going to die eating onions.  Can I now say I like them?  No.  But I don’t go out of my way to pick them out of food I’m eating that has onions.  AND I can even be found chopping up a shallot to add to certain sauces I’m making.  Shallots ARE in the onion family.  Go me.

Frying Onions

Kevin loves onions.  He has had to really sacrifice by not eating onions because I don’t cook with them hardly ever and because as he likes to tell people “he doesn’t want to sleep on the couch tonight”.  Poor guy.  I have always told him he can eat all the onions he wants when we go out to eat, but he will often give up those onions rings or whatever so he can sleep in our bed.  Aw!

This dip, which you can get the recipe for by buying Amy’s book, The New Midwestern Table, is first made by clarifying butter, which is one of the reasons I decided to make it as I’ve never clarified butter before.  Mmm, butta!  The onions are then fried in the butter until they brown and even start to crisp.  This is not the same as caramelizing onions, which is done at a lower temperature—low and slow.  I know many would say that is such a great aroma.  It is not one I enjoy.  My house smelled of onions for two days.  I lived.

Fried Onions

Are they done yet?  Not quite.  At this point, some wine or vermouth would be added and thickened with a little honey.  Since I don’t use alcohol, I used a little chicken stock.  Works just fine!  I do that with most recipes that have alcohol.  Sometimes I use fruit juice, too.  There’s garlic added, too.  I don’t have a problem with garlic, but I do not enjoy the smell either one leaves on my fingers and have never really found a remedy for getting rid of it.

Fried Onions and Garlic

Ahh, the onions are done.  Cooled.  Chopped finely, then added to a cream cheese and sour cream mixture, which I used lite for both.  There you have it—Fried Onion Dip.

And I decided to make some homemade baked chips to serve with it.  I made some potato chips and sweet potato chips.  And yes, I tasted the dip—just making sure to not get any of the onion bits.  I even had more than one bite.  I served the dip to the boys for dinner with some sandwiches.  They all ate some of it except Sam, my youngest.  Kevin enjoyed it and ate most of it.

Fried Onion Dip 2There you go, onion dip.  Get Amy’s book.  I’m excited to stretch myself and try some new recipes.  Yes, those chopped, green herbs on top should be chives, but I didn’t have any, so they are the last of my indoor, fresh parsley.  Next recipe—on my birthday, November 15—Corn Fritters with Green Chile Buttermilk Dip.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paleo Breakfast Bread—It’s Cinnamon Goodness Is Not Just For Breakfast!

Paleo Breakfast Bread

Hi!  Besides not feeling well lately, I’ve also had to deal with some family issues.  (Don’t worry, all is or at least will be fine.)  Just know that it’s nearly killing me to have ignored my blog for so long.  So I had a few minutes today and wanted to get a post up for you.  I sure do appreciate all my readers and hope you’re still around waiting patiently for me to post something.

You may have noticed I’ve been trying a lot of Paleo (grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free) recipes lately and posting some of them.  Here’s another.  I hadn’t realized I never blogged it, but it’s good and SO easy to make, so I wanted to share it with you.  I take no credit for it and didn’t even change anything in the recipe that Elana from Elana's Pantry came up with.  Love this lady and her blog.  We could be twins. (Ha!)  We do have a few things in common.  She has MS.  I have MS.  She has all boys (2) and I have all boys (4).  She’s got a great blog.  I’ve got a blog. ;)  But really, she is an inspiration to me and I have found many recipes on her blog that I enjoy.  She is a cookbook author and blogs great gluten free and Paleo recipes.

I first made this “breakfast bread” back in July and it was great.  I can be an easy thing to grab for breakfast as you and/or your kids are running out the door, but it also makes a great little snack when you just need something.  It is full of protein with almond butter and eggs and has just a few other ingredients, like honey, salt, baking soda and the star of the show—cinnamon.  This is packed with cinnamon.  You can add less if you’d like, but it’s pretty tasty.  Oh, it has a touch of Stevia drops, too.  Get some and keep it for recipes like the ones Elana shares and that I link.  It’s a great all natural sweetener and just a little dab will do ya.

Check out Elana's recipe for Paleo Breakfast Bread.  Better yet, make it.  I’m going to again right now.

It bakes in 12 minutes in an 8x8 square pan.  So easy. 

Paleo Breakfast Bread

Just takes a couple minutes to mix up the ingredients in a bowl and stir them with a spoon.  Bake and done.  It can even be enjoyed warm.  Yep, see, ya gotta go make some right now.

Paleo Breakfast Bread 3

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Banana Bread Recipe—Secret Recipe Club

Spinach Tiger's Banana Bread 10-5-13

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had the privilege and pleasure to fill-in for a blogger who wasn’t able to make their assignment at the last minute.   After volunteering and getting the blog information I would be filling in for, I was a little overwhelmed because I’ve been following this blog for years and have been so impressed with it that I almost felt I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.  That said, I certainly loved looking through all the wonderful posts and deciding what I could do with just a couple days left until the reveal.

Spinach Tiger is the blog I am posting for since our Group A leader, Jane, didn’t want her left out.  Angela’s blog, if you haven’t been there yet, is full of such great recipes.  But not only that, she has added a perfect balance of wit, humor and knowledge with her sharing.  She lives in Nashville with her husband and writes great posts for restaurants they visit in the area.  You should finish my post and go right to hers.  Read more about her on her About Page.  You’ll soon wish you were her BFF.  How I would love to be able to cook like she does.  My family is too picky.  If I was real life friends with Angela, I would eat everything she makes. ;)

In my haste to find something to make from her blog, as I only had two days to do it, I settled on this Banana Nut Bread.  I know, kind of lame of me—but with overripe bananas on the counter and everyone here loving banana cake, bread, muffins, I decided to try her recipe.  I’ve probably made too many banana bread recipes in the past to count them, but just like chocolate chip cookies, you can never try too many.

Angela got the recipe from a friend and it is quite similar to many others, though she cut the sugar, which is totally fine.  I agree with her, banana bread often has more sugar than necessary.  What I did like was that she said you can basically put whatever add ins on the top of the loaf or inside.  Her friend puts the nuts on top that are mixed with a little brown sugar.  That then reminded me of one of my favorite cakes, this Absolutely Delicious Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake that has a swirl of brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and chocolate in the middle and on top.  I decided I had to do that with this bread.  Had to. ;)  I only wish I could eat some of it.  It looks great.  Technically I could eat some, but since I’m not eating gluten or refined sugar right now, I haven’t eaten any of it.  The boys are eating it and Kevin even made a piece of French toast with some this morning while making breakfast for the boys.

Banana Bread Recipe (Oct. 2013 SRC Fill-in)Banana Nut Bread with Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl and Topping, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Angela at Spinach Tiger

1  1/2 cups all purpose flour

2  1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash nutmeg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup mashed over ripe banana (3 medium)

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x5 inch pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Whisk together to combine.  Mash the bananas. (I also do this in the food processor, I like it more like a puree than a little chunky.)  Combine in a separate bowl the eggs, vanilla and oil.  Add the bananas and egg/oil mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  Don’t overmix.

Make the swirl/topping mix.  Combine in a small bowl the nuts, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, mini chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Pour half the batter into the pan.  Sprinkle evenly half the swirl mix over the first layer.  Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining topping mix over the batter.  Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan.  Remove from pan by carefully turning it to the side and letting the loaf fall into your hand.  (A few of the nuts and topping will fall off, but it’s okay, you can eat those.)

Banana Bread 10-5-13

Definitely a test of wills here for me with this one as I love all things banana and adding nuts and chocolate are like heaven to me.  I suppose there comes a time when we choose our health over indulging in all the treats we’d like and I don’t feel like I’m suffering.

That reminds me, do you know how cool Angela from Spinach Tiger is?  Just because she wanted to see what it was like, try it out, be in the know and understand what being gluten free is like, she did just that for a month recently.  Check it out here.  She had a craving for a fresh tomato tart at that time and made a gluten free pie crust.  I SO wanted to get that done in time for this posting, but it was not to be—it WILL happen soon though.  I’ve been craving apple pie, so I do plan to try her Gluten Free Pie/Tart Crust here.  Her post is full of tips on making a gluten free crust work just right.  An apple tart or galette is calling my name. ;)

I, like Angela, don’t have dietary reasons for giving up gluten (or refined sugar for that matter), but after being diagnosed with MS recently, I decided to try going gluten free and sugar free.  I don’t really know if it is helping me, but I KNOW it certainly can’t be hurting me to not have white flour and refined sugars.  I am finding a world of good things that are still just as much a treat as the refined things out there.  And I know it will be okay to go for that splurge once in a while if I really want.  Check out my blog in recent months for those “healthier” treats I’ve been making. 

Thanks for picking me to fill-in this month, Jane.  My apologies to Angela for not being able to do her blog more justice that it deserves.  The best thing to do is CHECK OUT SPINACH TIGER for yourself, especially if you haven’t been there before.   Since I have two posts today, don’t miss my other post for my October secret assignment for Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error.  So many great blogs out there, so little time. 


Honey Nut Popcorn—Secret Recipe Club

Honey Nut Popcorn

In my new adventures of giving up gluten and refined sugar, I am sometimes finding it difficult to find treats that will cure certain cravings I have.  I’ve been using raw honey in many things.  When looking through my October blog assignment for the Secret Recipe Club, I found one of the things I’ve been wanting—something crunchy with a little sweetness!

This Honey Nut Popcorn hit the nail on the head!  I was assigned Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error.  There is definitely lots to see and try on her blog.  The cookies alone that she’s posted made me pine for those good ol’ days of making lots and lots of cookies.  You know, I haven’t given up on making goodies for other people, so I do still get to dapple in the good stuff when I want.  Kate lives in New York state, has a hubby and a cute baby boy (Boys rule!).

While we always have a full fruit basket here and plenty of other healthy choices for snacks, there is definitely a fair share of other treats available often.  As I mentioned, I’ve been craving popcorn.  My current favorite is white popped corn that I make with our Presto Stirring Popcorn Popper.  You put a little oil in the bottom of it, then add the popcorn and a little arm turns it around and around as it pops.  I’ve been loving using coconut oil and just putting salt on the popcorn.  You’ve got to try the white popcorn, the kernels are smaller and more tender.  You can get the white popcorn in most stores. 

Along came this honey nut popcorn and I was sold on trying it.  I did adapt Kate’s recipe that she got from Healthy Food For Living.  That recipe used some honey and some corn syrup.  I just used all honey.  Also instead of vegetable oil, I used coconut oil.  The honey nut popcorn is great!  Some peanut butter and peanuts are added to make it nutty.  It would be fun to try with almond butter and almonds.  That’s it, I’ve just decided, as soon as the honey nut popcorn I made is gone, I’ll have to try that.

Such simple ingredients and still a great treat.  Sure, it might not be just the same as a buttery caramel popcorn, but it works for me.  The boys tasted it and like it okay, but are leaving it alone and I’ve been enjoying it here and there throughout this week. 

Honey Nut Popcorn

Honey Nut Popcorn, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Kate at Kitchen Trial and Error

4 quarts popped popcorn (1/2 cup kernels) *I used white kernels

1/2 cup salted peanuts

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. 

Put the popped popcorn in a large bowl with the peanuts. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil, honey and peanut butter.  Stir constantly and cook for two minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla and salt.  Pour the peanut butter/honey mixture over the popcorn and peanuts and stir to coat evenly using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.  Spread the popcorn in an even layer on the baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Cool completely before eating and store in an airtight container.

Honey Nut Popcorn 3

Great sweet, crunchy treat for snitching a handful now and then!  Great blog, Kate!  Really enjoyed it and will be back.